On This Day
394 – Battle of the Frigidus: Roman emperor Theodosius I defeats and kills Eugenius the usurper. His Frankish magister militum Arbogast escapes but commits suicide two days later.
The Battle of the Frigidus, also called the Battle of the Frigid River, was fought between 5 and 6 September 394 between the army of the Roman emperor Theodosius the Great and the army of the rebel augustus Eugenius (r. 392–394), in the eastern border of Regio X in Roman Italia. Theodosius won the battle and defeated the usurpation of Eugenius and Arbogast, restoring unity to the Roman Empire. The battlefield, in the Claustra Alpium Iuliarum near the Julian Alps through which Theodosius’s army had passed, was probably in the Vipava Valley – with the Frigidus River being the modern Vipava – or possibly in the valley of the Isonzo.
Timasius, the magister militum, commanded the Theodosian army with help from the magister utriusque militiae Stilicho. Arbogast, previously the magister militum under Theodosius’s brother-in-law and senior co-emperor Valentinian II (r. 375–392), commanded Eugenius’s forces. It was Arbogast who had engineered Eugenius’s acclamation after Valentinian’s mysterious death. With reinforcements from among Theodosius’s allies among the Goths led by Alaric and Gainas, and from Bacurius the Iberian, Theodosius’s army defeated Eugenius’s, and Eugenius was captured and executed. Arbogast killed himself after the battle. The fighting ended the third civil war of Theodosius’s reign, after the two fought against Magnus Maximus (r. 383–388).
In ecclesiastical history, the battle was remembered as the last to involve an augustus who was a devotee of Roman paganism, though in fact Eugenius was not a pagan. The posthumous accusation of paganism was first levelled by Tyrannius Rufinus to enhance the reputation of Theodosius I, who was a vigorous promoter of Nicene Christianity and the state church of the Roman Empire. Church histories attributed Theodosius’s victory at the Frigidus to divine intervention, and Rufinus equated its importance with the Battle of the Milvian Bridge won by Constantine the Great over Maxentius in 312.
1159 – Pope Alexander III is chosen.
Pope Alexander III (c. 1100/1105 – 30 August 1181), born Roland (Italian: Rolando), was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 7 September 1159 until his death. A native of Siena, Alexander became pope after a contested election, but had to spend much of his pontificate outside Rome while several rivals, supported by Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa, claimed the papacy. Alexander rejected Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Komnenos’ offer to end the East–West Schism, sanctioned the Northern Crusades, and held the Third Council of the Lateran. The city of Alessandria in Piedmont is named after him.
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617 – Battle of Huoyi: Li Yuan defeats a Sui dynasty army, opening the path to his capture of the imperial capital Chang’an and the eventual establishment of the Tang dynasty.
The Battle of Huoyi (霍邑之戰; Wade–Giles: Huo-i) was fought in China on 8 September 617, between the forces of the rebel Duke of Tang, Li Yuan, and the army of the ruling Sui dynasty. Li Yuan, with an army of around 25,000, was advancing south along the Fen River towards the imperial capital, Daxingcheng (the modern Xi’an). His advance was stalled for two weeks due to heavy rainfall and he was met at the town of Huoyi by an elite Sui army of 20,000 (or 30,000) men. Li Yuan’s cavalry, under the command of his two eldest sons, lured the Sui out of the protection of the city walls, but in the first clash between the two main armies, Li Yuan’s forces were initially driven back. At that point, possibly due to a stratagem on Li Yuan’s behalf, the arrival of the rest of the rebel army, or to the flanking maneuver of Li Yuan’s cavalry, which had gotten behind the Sui army, the Sui troops collapsed and routed, fleeing back towards Huoyi. Li Yuan’s cavalry, however, cut off their retreat. The battle was followed by the capture of weakly-defended Huoyi, and the advance on Daxingcheng, which fell to the rebels in November. In the next year, Li Yuan deposed the Sui and proclaimed himself emperor, beginning the Tang dynasty.
Born On This Day
1475 – Artus Gouffier, Lord of Boissy, French nobleman and politician (d. 1519)
Artus Gouffier de Boissy (6 September 1475 – 13 May 1519 in Montpellier) was a French nobleman and politician. He was duke of Roannez and pair de France, count of Étampes, count of Caravaggio, baron of Passavant, of Maulévrier, of Roanne, of la Mothe-Saint-Romain, of Bourg-Charente and of Saint-Loup, lord of Oiron, of Villedieu-sur-Indre, of Valence and of Cazamajor. He served as Grand Master of France and attempted to negotiate a lasting peace between France and the House of Habsburg at the time of his early death.
The eldest son of Guillaume Gouffier de Boisy, sénéchal of Saintonge, and of Philippine de Montmorency, he began his court career as a page to Charles VIII, who his father had served as preceptor. He accompanied Charles on the conquest of the Kingdom of Naples in 1495, as well as accompanying Louis XII of France to Italy.
923 – Suzaku, emperor of Japan (d. 952)
Emperor Suzaku (朱雀天皇, Suzaku-tennō, September 7, 921 – September 6, 952) was the 61st emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession.
Suzaku’s reign spanned the years from 930 through 946.
1413 – Catherine of Bologna, Italian nun and saint (d. 1463)
Catherine of Bologna [Caterina de’ Vigri] (8 September 1413 – 9 March 1463) was an Italian Poor Clare nun, writer, teacher, mystic, artist, and saint. The patron saint of artists and against temptations, Catherine de’ Vigri was venerated for nearly three centuries in her native Bologna before being formally canonized in 1712 by Pope Clement XI. Her feast day is 9 March.
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